For your perusal, here's the letter of intent from the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation to the city of Houston concerning their proposal to buy the land on which they now sit and which they now lease. Most of what's in it has been discussed here already, but there's some stuff at the end that compares various lease scenarios to the purchase price. Take a look and see what you think.
At this point, I'm not sure what else there is to say about this story. Every indication is that both the city and the Center are happy with this deal - I certainly got that impression from talking to David Baldwin, the chair of the Center's Foundation board. He called it a "win-win", and said that the Center now controls its own destiny. I've since asked Ed Davis, the Center's media contact, if there were any restrictions in the Center's lease that might have made owning the land a more attractive option; he told me that under the lease, the Center basically had to get City Council approval for capital projects, which it now no longer has to do. (Those of us who rented before buying a house should be able to relate to that.) It also no longer has to provide an annual report to Council detailing its services, though of course it has and will continue to provide one for its board and its stakeholders.
So anyway. There's no question that this situation could and should have been handled better from the beginning. But in the end - and as far as I can tell, after Mayor White got personally involved - a fair and amicable solution was reached. Like I said, I'm not sure what else there is to add at this point. The most important thing is that the Center will continue to be able to do the fine work that it does. Everything else is now just details.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 24, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston